For the past several months, the fate of the UFC flyweight division has been uncertain. It all started with Demetrious Johnson claiming the promotion had threatened to bin the whole weightclass if he didn’t move up to challenge then-bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw. Then Demetrious was shuffled off to ONE FC in a rather unique trade situation, and rumors flourished that the division he headed for years might not last much longer.
While UFC president Dana White never outright said the UFC was going to get rid of flyweight, he never really made many reassurances either. Even leading up to UFC 238 with new flyweight champ Henry Cejudo as the big headliner, White still sounded unsure 125 could generate real interest amongst fans.
“I had a guy who was completely dominant, every time he fought he was exciting and always went for the finish,” White said during an interview with ESPN. “But people didn’t care. Nobody cared whatsoever about Demetrious Johnson. Henry Cejudo might be the guy that people actually care about.”
Fortunately for the flyweights, Henry Cejudo won, and in impressive fashion. After a tough first round, the Olympic gold medalist switched fighting strategies and outscrapped Marlon Moraes, finishing him at the end of the third round (watch the highlights here). And now Dana White is a believer ... in Cejudo at least, if not the division as a whole. When asked at the UFC 238 post-fight press conference if Henry could defend both belts, White was clear.
”I said if he could get through Marlon Moraes, absolutely,” he said. Does anybody in this room think he couldn’t defend both titles? After the Marlon fight, I’m blown away by it.”
“Obviously him winning had a lot to do with the division, so yeah,” White continued. “Have I said that it’s going away? Did I say it’s leaving? I haven’t even talked about that division in months.”
”Will you confirm it’s sticking around then?” a reporter responded. “Let’s go the other way.”
”Yes, I just did,” White replied. “It is confirmed.”
So there you have it, Maniacs. The flyweight division will continue to stick around, although we imagine it may be a while before champ champ Henry Cejudo returns to defend the belt.